Thursday, December 17, 2015

Time to grow up...

This weekend, we are moving. Again.

This time it's a bit different. We are moving into a home that God has given to us to buy. A small condo on the West End of Alameda.

We are excited to enter this new stage of life. It makes me feel like a real grown up (the 3 kids don't always make me feel that way) to have a mortgage.

While I'm excited for this grown-up stage of life, part of me is sad to leave behind the one-year-at-a-time-renting life. I don't want to forget all the ways that God made himself and his plans for us evident through all the homes Jeff and I have been given in our 9 years of marriage...

Rental #1: Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
Our first place together. Tiny studio where our bed took up the whole "bedroom" area, wall-to-wall, so we had to climb into bed from the foot of the bed. Somehow, we still were able to have people over to play Wii and eat tacos. Random fact: the closet was so narrow that we couldn't hang our clothes on regular sized hangers. (There are no pictures from this time, because this might've been before Facebook? ::sad face emoji::)

Rental #2: Apartment in Escondido, CA
The seminary life. It was two bedrooms (REAL bedrooms!) and it felt like a mansion! I was working at a school in Temecula and Jeff was in school full time and it was the only time we had a place with a dishwasher. We had a funny neighbor who loved to be shirtless all the time (a male neighbor), and this was the first home we brought Jonas home to.


Rental #3: The Lauterbachs' home in Escondido, CA
The nicest house we ever got to live in. We stayed in two of their bedrooms and though we had no money (Jeff was waiting tables while attending seminary full-time!), it was the sweetest time of love and fellowship with Mark and Rondi. I learned the proper way to set a table and how to make my salad dressings. I still miss Zavi (the best dog ever) and our afternoon coffee times.

Rental #4: 31st Ave, San Francisco, CA
When we were visiting the Kurths as they were getting ready to plant Christ Church, we took a walk in their neighborhood and saw a "For Rent" sign on a building around the corner from them. We called and took the 1 bedroom right away. Jonas had an adorable room that was actually a closet (but it did have a window) and we had awesome wood floors which made up for the tiny kitchen. We had many friends over for meals (Thanksgivings!) and games (Settlers!) and lived around the corner from some of our favorite friends (Kurths!)

Rental #5: 22nd Ave., San Francisco, CA
Lo and behold, God grew our family and we couldn't fit TWO kids into a closet (or could we? I bet we could've if we had tried...) so we down the street to 22nd Ave. This place had THREE bedrooms (palatial I tell you!) and we were able to have various boarders stay with us. This was Penny's first home and she also spent the first 6 months of life in a closet (I really think babies sleep better in closets.) Birthday parties, small group meetings, craft parties, dinners, celebrations, we loved life on 22nd Ave. And, we were so happy it stayed in the family when the Mercados moved in after we left.

Rental #6: Haight St, Alameda, CA
God called us to plant Grace Alameda and we set out to find a place in Alameda. We found this rental on Haight St and it was the only place we could afford but it was perfect as an introduction to the island. We were one block from the farmer's market and two blocks from a park and less than half a mile from Jonas's preschool. Being on the ground floor with people overhead proved to be bad news for Jeff (a very light sleeper) so we ended up only  being there for a year, but we enjoyed our time on the West End very much.

Rental #7: Encinal Ave, Alameda, CA
Alameda was becoming a crazy place to rent/live so as we got ready to move, everything seemed out of our price range. It was by God's grace that we were the first ones to see the place we are leaving now. Literally, I was the first one to show up at the open house when it was listed and had my application ready. When we first moved in, it was a funky little mint green house and our landlords had it painted a nice gray with dark blue accents. It has a white fence, side yard where had bbqs and planted a garden, and we had two stories for the first time ever. We have had many many people here, our Grace Alameda family for meetings, dinners, hang-outs, parties. This was Emma's first home. We are sad to leave but are looking forward to what's next...

We're going, going, back, back to... the West End! (Cali, Cali...)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Random things.

I'm trying to get back into the groove of blogging and having writer's block. The answer: random tidbits.

1) Why is it so hot????? 

2) I love this picture of Penny when she was Emma's age (2). I think it's crazy how babies/toddlers/kids change so much but also still look the same in so many ways. And look at baby Gabriella!!!!

3) Look at what Jeff did for me! 

(Totally kidding. Jeff would never deface public property to declare his love. I found this on the floor at the pool changing area. I thought it was funny and cute.)

4) Emma is a parrot. She spends all day mimicking whatever anyone is saying. Every morning she says "I need SOCKS!" because Penny and Jonas put on their socks for school. She makes us laugh. :)

5) Yesterday (Labor Day), we had to cancel all of our plans because Emma was sicky and we DID NOTHING. And it was just what we needed. Jeff spent all day watching Lawrence of Arabia (why is that movie so long??????) and the kids played at home and bugged each other and I took a nap. This picture has nothing to do with that. Jeff bought Penny clip-on earrings for her birthday and wanted to try them on...

6) We are moving in three months! I can't believe it! I am excited to do some major purging/downsizing of all our stuff. We are moving from our three-bedroom rental house into a two-bedroom condo. I don't know why, but God likes it when we do things in the wrong order.

7) Jonas is really big. Too big. 

8) Though I love summer (stone fruit, tomatoes galore, long days), I can't wait for fall and winter (butternut squash and pumpkin everything, BOOTS!, sweaters, early bedtimes). 

9) I really want to make this a list of ten things... Here's a quick "recipe": For breakfast, if we have an extra 7-minutes, we always eat 7-minute eggs. Boil water in a pot. When it's boiling, add eggs with a spoon (carefully so they don't crack). Set timer for 7 minutes. When timer goes off, drain boiling water from pot and rinse eggs in cold water until their cool enough to peel. Perfect soft-boiled eggs!

10) Looking at the picture above I think I need to start wearing eye cream! 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Conversation with Emma Wise

I haven't been on this blog in SIX MONTHS! 

Since March, all my kids turned a year older (7, 5 and 2 now!), we started a new school for the big kids, we bought a condo (!!!), we gained a new nephew, and so much has happened. All stuff that I WISH I had blogged about so that I could recall them better... 

In an attempt to get back to chronicling some of our life here, I present a typical conversation with Emma. 

You can deduce quite a bit about Emma's personality from this one-minute clip. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

No more eye gunk/boogers/crust!

Since Emma was born, she has had a blocked tear duct. Both Jonas and Penny had this when they were newborns, but with some strategic squirts of breastmilk (TMI??), it cleared up for both of the older kids by the time they were 3 months old.

Emma's didn't clear up and since birth, she has woken up with really bad eye gunk. Some days it's so bad she wakes up looking like a pirate, with only one eye open and the other sealed shut with crusty eye boogers. 

(This picture has nothing to do with her eye gunk, but look at what I caught her doing the other day!!)

It's a very standard procedure, but it was our first time having a child have to go to the hospital, much less having surgery. It was a 15-minute surgery and all went well.

At her pre-op appointment, she passed the long waiting time by showing off her bellybutton.

At the hospital, she was pretty happy despite the fact that she didn't get to eat anything since dinner the night before. 

The anesthesiologist gave her some medicine to relax her and I got to cuddle with drunk-Emma.

All smiles before the surgery. (She did not look this happy after.)

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts! Being at Children's Hospital made me realize what a blessing it is to have healthy children who rarely have to visit the doctor apart from well visits. I pray that I never take our family's physical health for granted!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Some tidbits on the kids and life here in Alameda...

Jonas begged and pleaded last year to play baseball so this year, we decided to try out farm ball through Alameda's Little League. He had his first practice today, and LOVED it. He has quite a number of friends on the team and he didn't want the 90 minute practice to end. Our first game is on the 22nd, and it looks like we'll have games on Sunday mornings until June.

Go Yankees!

Penny keeps growing! So much so that most the skirts and dresses in her size are just too short. I've resorted to making her skirts, which she doesn't mind at all. We are fans of knee-length skirts. :) She's been drawing a lot, singing a lot, asking a lot of questions, and just growing a lot. She is excited to be turn five this summer, though she is very unhappy that her birthday is the last one in our family (we all have birthdays before August.) She said that when she's a grown up, her birthday will be in February and her name will be Jessica.


Oh Emma. Our dear Emma-bear. She has so many words now, (though only the kids and Jeff and I understand them); she says umma, dada, unnah (for unni/big sister), appa (for oppa/big brother), juice, mama (for food), dog/duck, moo, bear, bye-bye, hi, yogurt, nana (for banana), one (when you ask her old she is), shoes, outside, no thank you, yes please, and has started saying two words together: "appa skoo" (Jonas is at school.), or "see dada", or "umma car". Her left eye still has a blocked tear duct so she will go in for minor surgery on that on Friday. :(

No more knee-walking!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015.

I'm not really a fan of Valentine's day. But having kids makes ALL the holidays more fun!

They got some fun gifts in the mail! New outfits from Mimi and Papa and treats that arrived on Valentine's day from Aunty Katie and Uncle Nini!

We decided it would be fun to start a tradition of the boys cooking dinner for Valentine's day. Jeff and Jonas made us some delicious beef stew...

...and Jeff baked cornbread from scratch!

We had a "fancy" dinner. We all got dressed up, the girls put on lipstick and dresses/skirts, the boys set the table and we feasted on the boys' yummy meal. It was an awesome way to spend Valentines Day!

 Emma got her very first chocolate lollipop. 

I love Valentine's Day with my family!!! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Enjoying memories...

...As found in random old selfies...

I think this was pre-Penny.

Jonas around 3 years old.

We have a lot of these kinds of random photos. 
(Penny around 18 months and Jonas around 2 ½ I think.)

Jeff loves selfies with Penny.